Monday, October 10, 2011

Roofing in the rain

I'm working on a couple of things. My neighbour and I have embarked on a collaborative project. More on that later, its exciting! and I'd like to do it as a workshop someday...

and the other thing is another smaller more colourful HouseTop quilt. Pix to come.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How not to sew straight.

I am teaching a series of classes
in the "How Not To Sew Straight" vein, the first bunch of classes are built on the idea of using the
oh so familiar Log Cabin block.
The pictures shown here are from the HouseTop class. The quilters of Gee's Bend use the housetop motif again and again to produce unique quilts, and they have been my inspiration for this class. It's a way to show how to get out of your own way while designing original quilts, yet still having the traditions of making quilts backing up your work.

These are work-in-progress shots of students' work. Well, the first one is mine... it's part of the chicken quilt.

I wish I had pix of the finished quilts, but we were rushing to finish. I've redesigned the class to be done in two days, so the design work is all done in class and the quilts will be finished!

I also have worked up a class called Not Just Another Log Cabin, where people experiment with a framed square block- by stretching, skewing, paying attention to colour and value, and generally letting experimentation, rather than a known result, be the leader. I'll post pix of that one soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

At Home In The Woods

We're back! We are back home in the forest on the ridge. Cat happy, plants happy, thanks to Rain.
Tomatoes turning- wee buds of green to red. I love that!
Squash roaming- little spirally tendrils grabbing onto whatever they can, and buds of squash growing. Looks like we may have food!
Beans coming. We had no beans when we left a week ago, now there are long skinny beany parts growing on the vines.
Spuds spuddling along.

I think its time for chickens. Be nice to have some company of the fine & feathered variety.

Friday, August 26, 2011


K and I have been in the city for a few days. We want to go home! We love our forest and our garden and the cat and our wee home. We are here getting my father settled into his new home. It hasn't been easy.
I had a vision about "drawing" with patchwork- now I gotta get home and sew it! I have the quilt started, up on my design wall, with hard line scribbles and bits, but I just got a vision of another part- smudgy, like when you're drawing with a soft material and your hand rubs the lines and makes it smudgy- or when you erase and leave smudgy marks. I need to get back to my machine and see if I can turn the vision into something. That's how it goes- idea, sew, more ideas, more sewing, practicing the art and craft all at the same time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


A truckload of quilts and a forest....
As promised- here are some photos of the Quilt Forest, A Walk In The Woods. All of the quilts are by Stacey
and me.
and 2 fantastic workers/engineers/display designers

The walk starts with a piece called "The Quilt Show"

And down the garden path it goes

The sunlight played games with the quilts all day.

This is the back view with the sun shining through...

one of my favourite views

detail of "Fresh Salsa"

nice colours with the woodpile

slip-covered chair

with Albert sitting on it

Katy's bird art chair

more quilts on the porch railings

one view from afar

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is monday, the day after the weekend that 42 quilts hung in our forest yard.
My friend and neighbour and fellow quilter and I , just the two of us, had these 42 quilts ready to hang in the woods, and our fantastic husbands made it happen by rigging ropes in the trees and tying spring clamps in a no-slip kinda way to accommodate our work.

We hosted some 135 people for a walk in the woods to view our work, and we had great support from our community. They seemed to love it, they liked the work, they liked the woods, they liked the idea, men liked it and women liked it. They liked seeing our little house, and enjoyed being on the ridge where it sits.

We sold absolutely nothing, but the thrill of the show was enough for me, and we have learned a few things. Its a process, this business of being an artist. One step at a time.

Photos to follow soon, but today I need to harvest the garlic, put away the quilts, pack up the ropes and clamps and go clean up the bottle depot, which I left in a mess on saturday, rushing to get back home to the Quilt Forest.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Startled Erupt

Okay... I'm going to try to make this blog thing active, attract energy and get my creative mojo on.
Here's the deal... I'm working on a 1) garden, 2) a new way of working with fabric, 3) making a living and 4) living the good life.
So... on the first count, I don't have much experience with growing stuff. I've always said that I'm a person who makes things, not a person who grows things, but I've come to realize that making things and growing things comes from a similar place, a place of nurturing. To make things,one has to nurture the creative mind. Ya gotta keep an eye out, keep looking, always feel when you're looking, let the visual world get in your brain, and your body, which comes out in your hands, in which ever medium you choose. I'm (hopefully) starting to wake up again and let that feeling come back to my seeing, to honour the things and sights that move me, to let it be okay that what I see moves me. Its okay. On growing... and nurturing... little tiny seedlings which miraculously sprout, then grow into plants with real presence, like the wee beet seedlings that sprout up in their little doublet cutie-pie bow-tie way and grow into hardy, leafy, red/green robust leaves, with that fantastic Deep Red Root down below, that TASTES SO GOOD, especially when roasted. Water, sun, soil, attention, a little education used in the right places... all these elements make the stuff grow.

On working with fabric....  I'm still making quilts. I have always had a bit of a problem with my way of making art. I generally make things that are "craft" rather than "art", but then I make them so they are not really useful. Like furniture that you can't sit on, or scarves that you can't wear, quilts that are too small to sleep under, like that. Then, when I make something useful, like bags from recycled textiles, or aprons from beautiful linen fabric... then, I don't feel like its art. Then its something useful.
Frustrating... right? So, I will make quilts. I may make some big enough to sleep under. I may make them and mount them to a wooden support, much like the canvas that a real artist paints on is mounted. I may do something else. And.. its okay. I may be a fuck-up (to quote Herb- not that he was talking about me), but its okay. That's why I am working with fabric in a different way than before, I am doing what moves me and that's that. Art or not, craft or not, that's that.

As for making a living; I will have many jobs, (I have had many jobs). Currently, and hopefully for a long time,  I work at the bottle depot in my new small community. My focus there is on types and sizes of bottles, whether they once contained alcoholic beverages or non-alcoholic beverages, and whether or not they contained beverages or some other substance. If a bottle that once contained vinegar comes in, we send it to the recycling centre. Things that come to the bottle depot, in order to be redeemed for a refund, must have once contained stuff to drink. Not stuff to make drinks out of, but drinks themselves. Plastic, glass, aluminum, metal, large or small or extra small, brown glass of a certain shape, glass containers of a certain height, did it contain milk or milk substitutes such as almond "milk" or rice "milk", was it imported from a different place, is it listed in the current list, all of these things must be considered before handing the lovely person in front of me a nickel or a dime. Wow! I love this job too, for the very fact that it just may be erasing, with every transaction, the work I did for the previous ten or so years, that of a retail clerk... charging a customer money for the material goods they felt they had to have. Here, in this job, I total up the # of beverage containers that a person brings in and then.. I HAND THEM MONEY!!! I love this, its like an eraser for all the years of taking money. I feel that with each transaction I am moving towards the light, god help me!
Then, I have a few sewing jobs on the go. I hope to do more of this.... the making of things practical and being paid for it.  I dunno why I have always been such a fuck-up (to quote Herb) about making a living. I just don't care that much about money. I like people and I like stuff and I like trees and I've never been able to make the money thing mean tha much, although I lie awake at night worrying about unpaid bills and the future without a "financial cushion". Frustrating, right? Ahhh, well.

Point 4). Living the good life. Its all about living without apology for me. I will do my best.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Turning Point

I'm finishing quilts that have been on the back burner for a while. I am finishing them so I can move them on, to make room for a new way of working. I'll be at the Silk Purse gallery with some members of The Cutting Edge textiles group during the North Shore Art Crawl April 16 and 17, 2011. I'll be quilting, displaying and chatting about textiles and patterns and life in general. Come down and see us.
I am excited about my new start, which begins with a finish. Things are rarely as cut and dried as I imagine they could be, but I'm slowly getting used to the way of the world, how things are tangled together but become clear in the distance as I look back. I'm finding that the best way to do it is to enjoy the entanglement as it holds and releases me.